Keenan HonigNext week, MMTC President and CEO Kim Keenan, along with MMTC Co-Founder and President Emeritus David Honig, will be honored at separate events for their lifetimes of advocacy in the nexus of civil rights and the law.

On March 18th, Lawyers of Color will induct Keenan into its fourth annual Power List, which recognizes the nation’s most influential minority attorneys and non-minority legal diversity advocates. That same night, the National Urban League will present Honig with its second annual Civil Rights Partner Organization Champion Award for his “untiring work as a champion in fighting for justice and social change.” [click to continue…]

Diversity in TechEvery day, businesses across America struggle to fill technology jobs such as Web design, user interface, and software development.  Yet millions of individuals struggle to find work, especially African Americans and Hispanics, who are often at double the unemployment rate of whites.  Through the White House’s new TechHire Initiative, President Obama has issued a national call-to-action to close the jobs and skills gap to move more Americans to the middle class through “high-quality, job-driven training.”

Yesterday, Business Forward, a national advisory group for businesses, held a conference call on TechHire with several White House representatives to discuss the initiative more in-depth. Representatives on the call included Jeff Zients, Director of the National Economic Council and Assistant to the President for Economic Policy, and Megan Smith, U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President to discuss the initiative more in-depth.  [click to continue…]

BBSJ Summit Net Equality Digital Redlining Panel - by Jason Miccolo JohnsonJust as if a time machine has transported us all back to the civil rights era, the American people are under attack.  The nation is fraught with a history of racial redlining, and in today’s technology-driven world, we are facing a new crisis: digital redlining.

MMTC President Emeritus David Honig moderated a panel at MMTC’s 2015 Broadband and Social Justice Summit titled, “Net Equality: Working to Achieve Universal Broadband Access and Adoption and End Digital Redlining.”  Honig defined digital redlining as the refusal to build out broadband infrastructure to some neighborhoods on the same terms as other neighborhoods, thus reducing the competition and opportunity available to people because of the neighborhood they live in.

The term “redlining” was coined in the 1960s, describing the practice of denying or charging more for service to persons in certain communities, usually Black, inner-city neighborhoods, no matter how qualified the individual.  The banking industry, among others, would physically draw red lines on a map to outline the areas they were not willing to serve.  As a consequence of redlining, neighborhoods that local banks deemed unfit for investment were left underdeveloped and in despair.  With an absence of employment opportunities in these neighborhoods because prospective employers were now unwilling to locate there, it was common for crime to follow, causing a rapid decline of these neighborhoods. Thus, future investment became less likely and created a cycle that created a justification for the initial redlining. [click to continue…]

The following article is Part 2 of a two-part series.

MediaImagesMatter PanelFor decades – in fact, since the inception of mainstream media as we know it – diverse communities have been portrayed in a negative light, leading to negative perceptions in society and consequent negative treatment by policymakers and law enforcement officials.

Yet, there is hope – thanks to the Internet, communities of color have the power to change the tone of their portrayals in the media.  Pic.tv released the webseries “Los Americans” and “Diary of a Single Mom” just a few years ago, and Issa Rae followed shortly thereafter with “The Mis-Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” on YouTube.  Today, webseries featuring diverse casts abound, and the mainstream media has now released a slew of new shows that focus on diverse communities and, finally, portray them in a positive light.

At the Broadband and Social Justice Summit panel “#MediaImagesMatter: The Combined Effects of Traditional and New Media in Perpetuating Stereotypes of People of Color,” panelists focused heavily on what we can do as communities to become creators, tell our own stories, and change the way people of color are characterized in the media.  [click to continue…]

Workplace Diversity - Google Creative CommonsThis revolution will definitely not be televised.

When Intel announced that it would spend $300 million over the next five years to create a workforce that actually looks like America, the coverage of the announcement was scant.

Here, we have a real game changer, and the faint praise of Intel CEO Brian Krzanich’s decision to establish a $300 million dollar “Diversity in Tech” initiative – or Jesse Jackson’s efforts at prodding the industry – is almost as bad as the conditions that created the need for the fund in the first place.

Almost.

By stepping up and leading tech companies out of the same old thinking about how to create a diverse workforce, Intel is opening the door for others in the tech world to ensure that the age of innovation looks like all of America.

Last month, Apple included two established minority-owned firms in its $6.5 billion debt offering, which was the largest high-grade corporate bond sale this year – until Microsoft followed with a $10.75 billion debt offering that included four minority-owned firms. This is the kind of action befitting the companies in the vanguard of changing the world we live in.

The business case is clear. People of color and women are among the highest consumers of all things tech. And there are too many of us to be ignored.  [click to continue…]

The following article is Part 1 of a two-part series.

MLK Thug HoodieThe #BlackLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter movements have harnessed – in a non-violent, social media kind of way – the nation’s anger at the slayings of unarmed men of color by law enforcement officers. Unfortunately, a lot of the discussion ignores the underlying root of most of these issues – that #MediaImagesMatter, and that the media contributes to the negative portrayal, and therefore the unfair treatment, of people of color.

The sad truth is that the media constantly tells the nation – in both news and entertainment – that many lives really don’t matter.  In a nation that is deeply fractured on the issue of race, all of us – including the media – have the responsibility to change the way we tell our stories and to stop stereotyping and using people of color as target practice to titillate and, in some cases, to fuel fears.

Journalists such as  Roland Martin of NewsOne Now and Richard Lui of MSNBC joined a diverse panel at MMTC’s recent Broadband and Social Justice Summit, titled “#MediaImagesMatter: The Combined Effects of Traditional and New Media in Perpetuating Stereotypes of People of Color.” The panel, which included representatives from the media industry and nonprofit advocacy groups, was in effect a town hall meeting on what we can and must do to change the portrayals of minorities in America.  [click to continue…]

WASHINGTON, D.C. (February 26, 2015):   Today, the Federal Communications Commission voted to adopt rules to ostensibly promote and protect an open Internet.  Responding to calls from the Obama Administration, the general public, and some public interest groups, the FCC’s move to reclassify broadband as a common carrier marks a record-breaking turn in the history of telecommunications.  For almost two decades, Information Service Providers (ISPs) have been subject to the bipartisan Clinton Administration’s “light touch” Section 706 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act to govern the direction and growth of the Internet.  Today, the Commission returns to key rules imposed by the 1934 Telecommunications Act designed for monopolistic telephone service.

“Today’s decision will have tremendous ramifications on the telecommunications ecosystem,” said MMTC President and CEO Kim M. Keenan.  “While MMTC needs to thoroughly review the 300-plus page Order to evaluate the potential impact, we have clearly gone backward in how we regulate a tool as dynamic as high-speed broadband.  Title II-style regulation could result in less access, less choice, and more opportunities to tax consumers, a totally different picture than we see today.” [click to continue…]

Bad Choices Can Make Today’s Internet Tomorrow’s Memory.  

Capitol with American FlagHere’s what is happening right now to your Internet:  On Thursday, February 26, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), the government’s independent agency that oversees the media and telecommunications industries, is about to deliver a groundbreaking decision that will affect your Internet.

Consumers need to speak up because the FCC’s actions can take away the benefits that we enjoy today and in the future.

Why Should YOU Care?

  • TODAY’S INTERNET GIVES YOU POWER. You choose from all kinds of plans and combinations, from low-cost pre-paid plans, all the way up to that family plan with the special music collection you like.  Tomorrow’s Internet could have all of these programs eliminated under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY’S INTERNET GIVES YOU ACCESS. We all move around the Web, accessing movies, photos, emails, and whatever we want on our smartphones and tablets. Tomorrow’s Internet could negatively impact where and how we use the Internet under new FCC rules.
  • TODAY’S INTERNET IS GETTING CHEAPER. Over the last few years, the price of broadband has been decreasing.  Tomorrow’s Internet costs may increase and make it harder for some of us to pay. New, unnecessary taxes and fees on services could also open up from Thursday’s FCC rules, hitting you and your family in the wallet.

Today’s Internet is OPEN, and after Thursday, consumers won’t get anything that they didn’t have – except more rules, less choice, and the possibility of higher costs. [click to continue…]

CongressThis week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will vote to end one of the most contested telecommunications debates in recent history – the future of the Internet.  Or at least, that is what the FCC thinks.  Already challenged by two Commissioners and members of Congress, the open Internet vote is under scrutiny amidst calls for the agency’s release of the Order for public consumption and comment.  Ironically, what started out as a quest toward greater online transparency has lost its focus and left behind those who are most at risk of being impacted by the final policy decisions – underserved consumers.

In the last two weeks, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler declared that the agency will lay down strong and enforceable rules of the road for Internet regulation that even surpass the White House’s vocal aspirations.  Meanwhile, members of Congress have been circulating a draft legislative proposal to avoid the potential legal, technical, and social collision of overzealous regulation on Internet Service Providers (ISPs); regulations that, in our understanding of the present form of the draft proposal, contain few consumer protections.  [click to continue…]

Black and Hispanic Entrepreneur Digital Divide Scientist STEM Education2

The Internet is just a few decades old, but today it is vital to the success of virtually every American.

Yet millions of Americans – particularly people of color – are missing out on the many opportunities afforded by broadband (high speed) Internet access.

Our struggle began as one for civil and human rights, but even with great progress, when it comes to digital literacy, an egregious number of African-Americans and Hispanics remain locked out of net equality, trapped on the wrong side of a widening gap that we call the “digital divide.”

The Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council (MMTC) and our partners, including National Urban League, the National Coalition for Black Civic Participation, and many others, are committed to addressing – and finding solutions for – this social justice issue, starting with our seniors. [click to continue…]